Artist Lisa Nilsson has taken the technique of quilling to a whole new level by creating these amazing (and kinda creepy) cross sections of the human body. Also known as paper filigree, quilling is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs.

“I was out and came across an antique quilled piece of religious art. It was a very fancy filigreed crucifix-gilt. I later learned that nuns and monks used edges of old bibles to make pieces like this,” said Nilsson in an interview with ArtSake.  Around the same time, she had stumbled across a French book of hand-colored anatomical cross sections which she felt was a great way to showcase quilling.

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And I have to agree with her. The work is absolutely stunning with out the same ick factor you get from Body Worlds. Sorry, innards gross me out…there’s a reason I am a writer and not a doctor!

Each piece takes up to a few weeks to assemble. “I build the work over an image or drawing, pinning parts to a piece of Styrofoam insulation (probably the single most useful and versatile material in my studio). I tend to work from the center out. When the piece is finished, I turn it over and brush the back with PVA (the white glue that book makers use) and the piece takes on enough strength and rigidity to hold its shape without pins,” says Nilsson.

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John Polak provided the imagery for this post and you can see more of his work on his website. I particularly like his photos of sculptures.

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